13 September, 2011

Lab-chip may make disease detection faster and cheaper

This is good to know, that technology is working for us.

Posted: 01 August 2011

An HIV patient lies in her bed next to her daughter at an HIV ward in the Rwandan capitol Kigali in 2003. (AFP FILE)
PARIS: A cheap, highly portable blood test has proven as accurate as expensive hospital-based analyses in detecting HIV, syphilis and other infectious diseases, according to a study released Sunday.

Researchers tested prototypes of the creditcard-sized lab-on-a-chip with hundreds of patients in Rwanda, reporting nearly 100 percent accuracy.

The so-called "mChip", they said, could help knock down three barriers to effective delivery of health care into the world's poorest regions: difficult access, high costs and long delays for results.

"The idea is to make a large class of diagnostic tests accessible to patients in any setting in the world, rather than forcing them to go to a clinic to draw blood and then wait days for their results," said Samuel Sia, a professor at Columbia University and lead developer.

The findings were published in Nature Medicine.

With a projected production cost of a dollar per unit, the mChip would be far cheaper to administer than current lab-based tests.

Because it can scan for multiple proteins, each corresponding to a disease, at the same time with a single blood sample, it is probably even cheaper -- and more accurate -- than strips which work like store-bought pregnancy tests.

"Current rapid HIV tests require subjective interpretation of band intensity by the user that can result in false positives," that is, healthy individuals being misdiagnosed, the study noted.

The mChip, by contrast, allows for measurement using a hundred-dollar handheld instrument no more complicated to use than a cell phone, according to the researchers.

Finally, the device produces results in minutes rather than days or weeks, a time saving that can make a big difference in treatment outcome.

The device contains a microchip housed inside an injection-moulded plastic casing, explained Vincent Linder, Chief Technological Officer at Claros Diagnostics, which owns or has licensed relevant patents.

Unique disease "biomarkers" contained in a pin-prick blood sample bind to one of up to 10 individual detection zones.

A nano-scale gold "reagent" -- which detects a substance via a chemical reaction -- is injected, followed by a silver one that interacts with the gold to produce an ultra-thin film.

"The darkness of the film is proportional to the concentration of biomarker in the sample," said Linder, comparing the steps to the development process in non-digital photography.

The results are measured with a LED-based detector, or can be assessed by the naked eye.

In Rwanda, Sia and colleagues tested the device in Muhima Hospital in Kigali, where on-site results currently take days or weeks because samples must be sent to an outside laboratory.

From a total of 70 specimens with known HIV status, half male and half female, only one tested false, a result that rivals the accuracy of lab-based HIV analysis.

Similar tests on more than 100 archived specimens yielded equally reliable results, as did further trials based on samples from female sex workers known to be infected with both HIV and syphilis.

The researchers hope the device will boost testing of pregnant women, especially in Africa.

Currently, barely a quarter of pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries are tested for HIV, a figure which provides scant hoping of reaching the UN goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission by 2015, according to the 2010 UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic.

In Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, only nine and six percent, respectively, of pregnant women currently receive HIV testing, according to the report.


Taken from ChannelNewsAsia.com; source article is below:
Lab-chip may make disease detection faster and cheaper

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09 September, 2011

Windows 7 and Lotus Domino 6.5

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade Family Pack (3-User)I am very eager to migrate all of my codes to Windows 7 - I cannot list down all of the advantages, but to name a few, here goes:

Speed - I am using Dell GX280 and GX520, and I found that GX280 running Windows 7 compared to GX520 running XP, the speed is substantially noticeable. Just for the record, here are the basic specs:

Pentium 4

Pentium 4

IBM Lotus Notes and Domino 8.5.1Not to mention other peripheral chips and devices, the GX520 should be the better machine - but not with Windows 7. One big factor is the additional RAM by employing Readyboost in Windows 7. I plugged in a 4GB USB drive, and by all sticks and yards, GX280 runs faster than GX520.

That is true even when opening and editing in Visual Studio 2005 and 2010.

Now, what is the point I am driving home now? I had one PC try out Windows 7, and part of the test is to find out if all my codes will work, knowing that Windows 7 is the better way to go.

I built and installed those programs that were using Oracle client (inline SQL, stored procedures, etc), and they worked fine. There is another that saves to Excel file, and this, too, worked fine.

Then came those batches that uses Lotus Notes, Domino 6.5. Well, I was able to install Lotus Notes client. And what I usually do is, I copy the whole folder of \\notes\ from a different PC that is working, and dump it into the new installation, and immediately, things are like old times. Followed by this, I was able to build and install the whole batch of programs that reads from Notes.

IBM Lotus Domino: Classic Web Application Development TechniquesBut when I ran them... disaster ensued! "Error opening blah, blah, blah... object not instantiated..."

But I was able to resolve this within the day. My luck? I would call it my perseverance to make use of Windows 7, and my perseverance to make things work - if needed.

Since things can be done faster even with a dying PC (I'd call it that, the GX280) which is given the new heart of Windows 7, I do several rounds of uninstalling Lotus Notes client, reinstalling it, then building and installing 1 program at a time.

What I found is that I am able to build 1, or all, at the same time, but when I try to build 1, then install, then next build already fails. the object file domobj.tlb can no longer be referenced by Visual Studio. But as said, if you build all first, there is no problem.

So finally, that is what I did: uninstall then reinstall Lotus Notes 6.5, then build all of my programs, then do the installation after. Now, did the programs run without a problem?

No! You see, some thing could be writing to the registry, and it 'removes' or 'deletes' the entry for Domino 6.5. So after installing the programs, what I did was do a Repair-Installation of Lotus Notes 6.5, and that fixed the problem.

Microsoft Windows 7 Home PremiumThat may not be a convenient fix, but it works. I actually sent this issue to Notes support team, and 4 days since, I'm not getting a reply from them. Are they interested with my case? I'm sure I am not the only one. So is Notes team entertaining everyone's question? Maybe not. We'll find out sooner or later.

But for me, I have a fix, and I will stick to it, whether or not I get an answer from them.

Till then!

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Changing font in Notepad++

English: Icon for Notepad++
English: Icon for Notepad++ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
SiteSpinnerI am one user who prefers to "see" the fonts in whatever application I'm using to my preferred font faces. As I was looking for some text editor that could both be better than Notepad, the one that comes with XP/Windows 7, a standard issue, I could say, and with another functionality - to be able to handle html editing.

I found Amaya, which is supposed to be W3's choice, etc., etc., (I mean, there is so much said about Amaya), but I didn't see to like it, and then there are a lot more of those free HTML editors, but what I found to be simple enough to use, and lightweight enough to be installed, and works (last one is the 'ummpphh!' factor), I sticked to Notepad++.

And as said, I wanted to use my own fonts in this software, and I searched, and searched, and searched, and what I knew from other softwares, it doesn't apply to Notepad++.

The Russian Editor

So I searched the bottomless world wide web for ways and means of doing what I wanted to do, and I found some, most of which offers the solution that I have tried - and of course - didn't work (what are those guys thinking?). But I found 2 or 3 that gave the correct solution and approach.

I have lost those links, as I quickly applied, and did some other things that I wasn't able to log those links (for attribution; sorry guys). Here is how it works:

Refactoring HTML: Improving the Design of Existing Web Applications1. Settings > Style Configurator >

  1. Language: Global Styles
  2. Style: Default Style (not Global override)
  3. Then you set your font (right side)

2. Try and make use of the themes:

  1. Select theme: Black broad, Bespin, etc.
  2. Then do again Step #1.

You should be looking at your preferred fonts after this, and the theme of your own liking.


Visual Studio 2010 and Maxthon 3

Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET Ajax in 24 HoursI have been following the examples in the book ASP.NET AJAX in 24 hours, and I am doing it in both Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2010. While the book is targetted for use in VS2005, I did find that there is not much difference in the codes between VS2005 and VS2010, so I was finding the examples working in both IDEs, or rather, the examples are able to function properly regardless of which IDE is used.


I was coding the simple calculator, which is but 2 textboxes and a label, where the addends and the sum/total are entered/shown.

VS2005 defaults to using IE, and VS2010 uses whatever is the default browser that is set in your system, and it so happened that in the PC I am using at work, it was set to Maxthon (v3).

Somethings don't work properly...

The Ajax functionalities are all working fine with VS2005, but when coded in VS2010, something doesn't work here and there, now and then. It was not the same control, or the same functionality, everytime, from code to code, so for some time, I was baffled.

I was wondering whether it was due to the fact that the book was meant for VS2005, and I am using VS2010. I didn't get this for some time.

Sams Teach Yourself ASP.NET 3.5 in 24 Hours, Complete Starter KitFurthermore, when I tried things at home, the behaviour was the same. Of course, my default browser is Maxthon 3, so at least, in this aspect, the results were repeatable.

Then I don't know what I did, what I clicked, but perhaps in desperation, I clicked something, then the very simple Ajax-enabled calculator, which immediately adds up the two numbers (and works even when only 1 number is entered; adds to 0), started working.

Actually, the behaviour was consistent. One label was named A, and the other, B, and if A is not working, exchanging the label IDs will make B not work, and A work.

So finally I discovered what was causing the problem.

Maxthon 3's lightning mode.

I switched the debug tab to retro mode, and things started to work well and properly.

I went back to all the examples, and with each debug run, I switch to retro mode, and IE and Maxthon 3 handled all the Ajax functionalities as if they were one and the same browser.

Microsoft ASP.NET 4 Step by Step (Step by Step (Microsoft))And if you are encountering the same issue with Visual Studio 2010 and Maxthon 3, this could be the same rootcause - and solution.

Drop me a note if this post has been of help to you.

Till then. Happy Ajax-ing!

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